"Many students have anxiety when it comes to public speaking," says Lake Michigan College instructor Sharon Klemm. "My goal is not to make students' anxiety go away, instead I want students to learn to manage it, and not be paralyzed by the thought of speaking in front of a group."
Sharon explains that much of students' apprehension is a direct result of preparation. "Many students procrastinate on the research behind the speeches. This procrastination results in anxiety. Students should realize that speaking will become easier if they are well prepared, researched, and have practiced the presented material."
Expectations and Skills Taught
"I expect students to regularly attend class, on-time. I also demand that students be polite. For most students, it is not easy to stand up in class and talk, it's even harder if fellow classmates are being disrespectful," says Sharon.
Be prepared to talk in COMM 101, Intro to Public Speaking. This course will have you speaking in front of your class multiple times throughout the semester.
For your speeches, you will be given a list of parameters to help direct you to a topic. Sharon says that she's always open to speech topic suggestions. Students do not have to just 'pick from a list'. "I do not allow note cards during presentations, but I do allow, and expect students to use an outline. I expect my students to be well researched on the topic they chose. They should also be able to field questions from myself and the class."
On non-presenting days, you will be introduced to communication theory, getting to know your audience, relaxation techniques, organization skills, and research techniques.
Technology in the Classroom
Films of speeches are often shown. "By letting students see a 'good' speech from a 'bad' speech, they can learn the art of public speaking through observation. From Martin Luther King, Jr. and John F. Kennedy to Barbra Bush and Robert Redford, students will be able to see a vast array of speakers," says Sharon.
Along with the films, a variety of technologies are used in conjunction with traditional lecture and hands-on activities. The Internet, and materials available on Canvas - the College's learning management system - play an important role in class.
Getting the Most from the Program
By keeping in touch with your advisor, you can make sure you are on track and if necessary, your plan can be revised to adjust for any circumstances that may change your available time to complete the program.